Lung Cancer

Board Certified Pulmonologists & Board Certified Sleep Medicine Physicians located in Joliet and New Lenox, IL

Lung Cancer

About Lung Cancer

Lung cancer primarily affects smokers, but nonsmokers can develop certain types. Whether you smoke or not, contact Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. in Joliet or New Lenox, Illinois, if you have lung cancer symptoms. The expert pulmonologists have extensive experience and expertise in diagnosing and treating lung cancer. Call your nearest Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. office to arrange a prompt lung cancer consultation, or use the online booking form to request an appointment today.

Lung Cancer Q & A

What is lung cancer?

Lung cancer develops when cells within your lung mutate and grow aggressively, forming masses or tumors. Cancer cells aren’t like healthy cells, which have a limited lifespan. The genetic changes that create cancer cells give them an unlimited lifespan and encourage faster reproduction.

The tumors tend to affect one lung at first, but untreated cancer can metastasize (spread) to your other lung, lymph nodes, and eventually other organs around your body. 

The most common lung cancer category is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This includes squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.

NSCLC accounts for almost 90% of lung cancers. Less common is small cell lung cancer, which usually grows more quickly than NSCLC and spreads easily to other parts of your body.

What causes lung cancer?

Smoking is the most significant overall lung cancer risk factor, but nonsmokers can develop lung cancer as well.  

Smoking damages the cells lining your lungs. Cigarette smoke contains numerous carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) that almost immediately cause lung tissue changes. Initially, your body repairs the damage, but the cells develop abnormalities over time and may eventually become cancerous.

Your risk of lung cancer increases with exposure to toxic substances, such as:

  • Asbestos
  • Diesel exhaust 
  • Radon gas
  • Uranium
  • Arsenic

You’re more likely to develop lung cancer if other family members have had the disease.

What symptoms does lung cancer cause?

Lung cancer symptoms include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Hoarseness
  • Recurring pneumonia
  • Pain
  • Clubbing (thickening of the ends of the fingers and toes)

Pleural effusion can also develop, where fluid gathers in the pleural cavity surrounding the affected lung.

If you visit Midwest Respiratory, Ltd., the highly skilled pulmonary experts use state-of-the-art tests like CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, fused PET/CT images, and ION navigation bronchoscopy (ENB), a cutting-edge technology for examining the lungs in detail.

How is lung cancer treated?

Lung cancer treatment varies depending on how far the tumors have advanced. Nonsurgical options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted drug therapy.

You can combine these treatments with surgery or use them on their own, depending on the cancer’s severity and your general health.

Surgery involves removing the diseased lung tissue (lung resection). It offers the best chance of treating lung cancer successfully. 

Quitting smoking is also necessary, when applicable, and a smoking cessation program is available to patients.

Call Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. if you’re concerned about lung cancer symptoms, or schedule a consultation today by completing the online booking form.